Illness and Exposure
What to do if someone at your program is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19
The COVID-19 virus is spread when an infected person has symptoms AND by individuals who don’t have obvious symptoms or any symptoms at all. It is important to follow all isolation and quarantine guidelines. Home quarantine of sick or exposed children and staff reduces the chance of spread to others in the program.
How to report COVID-19 cases
Sites are required to notify the Department of Public Health of all confirmed COVID-19 cases among employees and children who have been at the site at any point within 14 days prior to becoming ill or receiving a positive COVID-19 test.
1. Alert your Community Care Licensing Regional Office that you have a positive case by phone or email.
3. Read the Public Health ECE Exposure Management Plan (found in the toolkit link above.)
4. Download and complete the COVID-19 Case and Contact Line list and email it to ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov or fill it out online (found in the toolkit link above)
*The information below is intended for reference only. Please refer to the Public Health ECE COVID-19 Toolkit for all official guidance. If a staff member or child at your program has COVID-19, please follow the steps listed above.
Exposure management planning before you have a COVID-19 case
It is important to have a COVID-19 exposure plan in place before you have a COVID-19 case at your site.
There are two requirements:
1. Choose someone to be your designated ECE Center COVID-19 Liaison. This person serves as the point of contact for COVID-19 safety protocols. This person communicates with staff, families, and children about COVID-19 safety. This person is the liaison with DPH in the event of a COVID-19 case at the child care site.
2. Your program must follow DPH guidance on screening. You must use the Screening and Exposure Decision Pathways for any student or staff who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms at your site.
Exposure at your program
If someone at your program has COVID-19, ask them to isolate at home, away from others.
Identify any staff and children who have been exposed to the infected person while they were infectious. They should be sent home to self-quarantine for 10 days.
When a person is considered infectious:
- 2 days before symptoms first appeared until the time they are no longer required to be isolated (no fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of medicine that reduce fevers AND other symptoms have improved AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared).
- A person with a positive COVID-19 test but no symptoms is considered infectious from 2 days before their test was taken until 10 days after their test.
- Being within six feet from the infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours.
- Being in a cohort or classroom with an infected person while they were infectious (up to 2 days before symptoms appeared)
- Close contact also includes unprotected, direct contact with body fluids of the sick person starting from 2 days before symptoms appeared. Body fluids or secretions include saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine or diarrhea.
What to do if a staff person is sick or exposed
If a staff member is sick:
Staff must go home when they are sick with symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever and cough.
Use the Screening and Exposure Decision Pathways to determine if the staff member should be tested for COVID-19 and quarantine.
If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, he or she must stay home in quarantine:
- For a minimum of 10 days after onset of symptoms
- AND until their symptoms have improved
- AND they are free of fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
If a staff member has been exposed:
If a staff member has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or with a respiratory illness, ask them to stay home to self quarantine for 10 days from the date of the contact. They should also get tested for COVID-19 and report results to the ECE program. If no symptoms appear within 10 days, the employee can come back to the site. All COVID-19 prevention precautions should be strictly followed.
- A sick staff person should seek a COVID-19 test from their own provider, from a free testing site, or from another site of their choosing. Staff should inform the center about the outcome of the test.
- A health care provider’s note is NOT required for employees who have been sick with acute respiratory illness to stay at home or to return when they have recovered.
What to do if a child is sick or exposed
If a child is sick:
A sick child should be picked up immediately.
Children who develop symptoms of illness after drop-off at an ECE site should be separated from others right away. If possible, put the child in a room that others do not enter or pass through. The child should remain in isolation until they can go home.
If possible and age appropriate, place a surgical mask on a child with fever and/or cough as soon as possible after moving them to the sick room.
Use the Screening and Exposure Decision Pathways to determine if the child should be tested for COVID-19 and quarantine.
If a child has been exposed:
If a child is exposed to someone, such as a family member, who has COVID-19, the child should stay home for 10 days. The child should be tested for COVID-19 and the family should share the results with the ECE program. If no symptoms appear within 10 days, the child can come back to the site. All COVID-19 prevention precautions should be strictly followed.
- Remind parents to update emergency contact information regularly so site staff can get in touch quickly if a child shows signs of illness.
- A health care provider’s note is NOT required for children who have been sick with acute respiratory illness to stay at home or to return when they have recovered.